Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Abandon Taiwan: US academic

Sounding very much like Henry Kissinger back in the 1970s, Charles Glaser argues that the US should be willing to sacrifice Taiwan for the sake of better relations with China

An article in the current issue of the influential Foreign Affairs magazine argues that to avoid military competition between the US and a rising China, Washington should consider making concessions to Beijing, including the possibility of backing away from its commitment to Taiwan.

In the article, titled “Will China’s Rise Lead to War? Why Realism Does Not Mean Pessimism,” Charles Glaser, a professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, argues that the rise of China will be “the most important international relations story of the twenty-first century.”

Glaser’s article makes the case for a “nuanced version of realism” that would avoid unnecessary competition — and perhaps armed conflict — between the US and China.

While the prospects of avoiding “intense military competition and war” between the US and China may be od, China’s rise will nevertheless require some changes in US policy, he argues. Such adjustments, he claims, should include backing away from security commitments to Taiwan.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.


Nathan W. Novak (李漢聲) said...

Ah, yes, sell Taiwan now, and buy "peace in our time." Fool.

mike said...

"...argues that to avoid military competition between the U.S. and a rising China..."

The assumption that it is of course desirable to avoid confrontation is exactly what has been wrong with Western foreign policy toward the PRC for at least the last two decades. The PRC must be confronted politically, militarily and above all, morally. The current Marxist occupants of the White House are neither sympathetic to, nor capable of such confrontation.

Nathan W. Novak (李漢聲) said...

Agreed, Mike. But more than that, I see Sino-US relations becoming progressively more confrontational as the PRC and United States begin reaching parity in a number of areas. One reason for this is the difficulty a rising state has in adhering to any form of status quo--rising states challenge that status quo by definition. Another reason will be the fears of those nations, especially the smaller ones, who are in close contact with or even outright allies of the United States. Still another reason is the tendency of status quo powers to not go silently into the night, especially since the entire global security structure is based on their ability and willingness to use that structure to their benefit--the reason they created such a structure. I think conflict is unavoidable in the long run even if the United States opts out. But that's just me.

Brian Schack said...

I think what bothers me most about such writing is how casually the writer abandons all ideals and principles. Self-determination? Democracy? Rule of law? Pffft - those are just words!

But they aren't just words. Moral authority may not impress the clever cynics at Foreign Affairs (it seems), but it is a powerful weapon, and hypocrisy has a price - witness the weak position of the U.S. in the Middle East. There the U.S. has exercised the basest of realpolitik, coupled with overwhelming military force. This presumably would attract the admiration of those such as Charles Glaser. And what has it gained them? Protracted, debilitating wars, few allies, and almost universal hatred from the Arab world.

Think then of the message that would be sent if the U.S. allowed Taiwan, a democratic free country, to be absorbed by China. It would be hard to think of a more damning and self-defeating action. No country in Asia would take the Americans seriously after that.

mike said...

"It would be hard to think of a more damning and self-defeating action."

No it isn't - the 2009 stimulus bill for a start.

Nathan W. Novak (李漢聲) said...

"No it isn't - the 2009 stimulus bill for a start."

Amen, Mike.

Let's not get too idealistic, here:

"Moral authority may not impress the clever cynics at Foreign Affairs (it seems) . . . ."

The clever realist (as well as the clever liberal/idealist) realizes that "moral authority" can also be a useful tool in the pursuit and attainment of what one seeks, i.e., one's interests. Words without spine are words. And for some reason, the nations of the world suddenly appear backboneless whenever the Chinese come around. Defeatist swine.